Suffering a miscarriage can be a devastating event in your TTC journey, and one with lasting physical and emotional impact. Even with that, it’s normal for your most pressing question to be about when you can try to get pregnant again after a miscarriage. Trying to conceive after pregnancy loss can be more complex than just trying again; there are physical and emotional factors to consider as you continue your path to parenthood.
In this post, learn about:
- How to know you're physically ready to try again
- Some positive signs indicating you're emotionally ready to try again
- How to emotionally heal after a pregnancy loss
How will I know my body is ready to conceive again after pregnancy loss?
From a physical standpoint, there are a few things that need to happen after miscarriage to conceive again.
1. hCG levels should return to baseline.
When you’re pregnant, hCG (the pregnancy hormone) increases to support the developing pregnancy. When a miscarriage happens, the pregnancy is no longer present in the uterus and hCG should drop. Sometimes tissue (a.k.a., products of conception) is left behind. Most of the time, your body will expel the tissue on its own within a few days to weeks, but other times it has trouble (we call this an incomplete miscarriage). If there's tissue left behind for longer than you'd expect (multiple weeks) this can increase the risk of infection or ongoing bleeding, and high hCG levels could be a sign that there's still some tissue remaining.
2. Ovulation needs to return.
If you're trying to get pregnant at home, first, you'll need to ovulate. During pregnancy, hCG and progesterone levels are elevated and this prevents ovulation (this is why you don't ovulate, or get your period, while pregnant). When a miscarriage occurs, hCG drops which allows for that return to ovulation and the opportunity to try to conceive again. You can confirm you've started to ovulate again by checking LH levels with an at-home Ovulation Test.
3. Menstruation should return.
After a miscarriage, the uterine lining will shed and this is the bleeding associated with miscarriage. A subsequent period will indicate that the uterine lining has begun to regenerate and thicken again, creating the optimal environment for another embryo to implant.
How will I know I’m ready to conceive again emotionally?
When it comes to trying to conceive after miscarriage from an emotional standpoint, things get a little less straightforward. We asked Dr. Bev Young, cofounder of BRIA, a virtual clinic supporting women’s health from pre-pregnancy through to perimenopause, to share some of her thoughts about conception after loss.
First things first: It is normal to feel grief, sadness and anxiety following a loss and when you think about trying to conceive again, there might be a good amount of fear that your experience will repeat itself. “It’s really hard to say how long the grieving process will take,” says Bev, “but I think the important thing is to be able to move beyond the depths of despair and focus on getting to a better, more stable place emotionally.”
Some things to consider before TTC again:
- If you’re feeling really stuck in your sadness
- If your grief is affecting your daily routine
- If your grief is affecting your ability to function
- Difficulty at school or work
- Irritability that is affecting your relationships
- Not being able to do basic self-care tasks
- Low energy and motivation
Bev recommends seeking outside help if you find this intense grief and despair lasts longer than two months—this could indicate a more serious mental health concern outside of grieving your pregnancy loss. This can be especially true if you’ve suffered from anxiety or depression in the past.
What are some ways to help emotionally heal after a pregnancy loss?
“Finding closure doesn’t mean forgetting—the loss will likely always be a part of you and there will always be reminders,” says Bev. “But, defining what closure means to you will help you know that the next pregnancy is not a replacement pregnancy—that’s why the experience of grieving is so necessary before you continue on.”
Here are ways to help heal:
- Find the people who are supportive in your life, and talk about your loss
- Get outside everyday
- Practice simple self-care: shower, get fully dressed, try to socialize
- Get enough (and good) sleep